Tuesday, February 16, 2010

Stop execution in Iran, Iran’s Protestors Are Facing Death Penalty

On January 28, 2010, the office of Tehran’s general and revolutionary prosecutor has declared the execution of Mohammad-Reza Ali-Zamani and Arash Rahmanipour. They were convicted of moharebeh (enmity against God) and being member of “Anjoman-e Padeshahi-e Iran”. Amnesty International describes the trials that led to Mr. Zamani’s and Rahmanipour’s execution as “show trials,” as well as a “mockery of justice”. Both victims were arrested before the June fraudulent election. Nine other dissidents also were convicted of moharebeh and are waiting execution. Another trial for the Ashoura protesters will be started tomorrow in Tehran.
Ayatolah Jannati, a member of the Guardians Council in his congregation in today Friday Prayer at the University of Tehran campus “Lauding Judiciary for execution of two of the post-vote rioters on Thursday” and said if several people were executed on July 9, 1999 (when university students in Tehran and other major cities protest against the new wave of suppression) “we would no longer witness such event as that of Ashoura”. He wants judiciary system repeat the massacres of the 80s.
Before today execution, Abbas Jafari Dolatabadi, Tehran’s general and revolutionary prosecutor, declared during in an interview with Fars News Agency on January 8, 2010 that the trial of five men arrested in Ashoura protest of Sunday 27th of December has already started by Tehran’s Revolutionary Court. The five are accused of moharebeh (enmity against God) and if found guilty, they could face execution.
Several high-ranking clerics and government authorities, are asking for tougher measures against those arrested in intermittent protests that has swept Iran since the flawed presidential election of last June.
Iranians understand and yesterday executions show this is not an empty threat. Time and again they have been subject to harsh repressive measures in the last 31 years. Just after the victory of the February Revolution in 1979, the Revolutionary Courts executed hundreds of Shah’s officials, military and security officers without due process (some of them low ranking officers). At the same time the courts ruled for the execution of dozens of religious and ethnic minorities like Bahá’ís, Kurds, Arabs and Turkmen.
In the early 80s the regime carried out mass execution of its political opponents and non-conformists. Thousands of men and women, many of them teenagers, were executed or killed under torture inside prisons around the country. In the summer of 1988, the regime executed about 4000 political prisoners in less than 6 weeks. The massacre occurred under the direct order of Ayatolah Khomeyni.
The suppression of the opposition did not cease after the massacre: security forces inside and outside of Iran killed dozens of opposition figures. In autumn 1998, the security forces killed five intellectuals. The government investigation committee, appointed by the incumbent president, found that the security forces were responsible, but did not reveal the names of the high ranked officials and clerics who ordered the killings.
Since the fraudulent elections of June 12, 2009 the regime has embarked on suppressing peaceful demonstrations. Dozens of protesters have been killed in the streets or under torture inside prisons. Thousands of protesters have been arrested by the security forces. There are reports of rape and other abusive treatment.
Most of the detainees are ordinary people. In many cases, the location of detention centres is unknown. The families of the detainees know that if their loved ones’ location of detention is made public; it would be more difficult for the government to mistreat them. The families are gathering in front of prisons like Evin and Revolutionary Courts to obtain information about their loved ones. They are the main source of news about what’s happening inside prisons in Iran.
Officials make false allegations against the arrested. The Tehran prosecutor said the five member of one of the opposition groups are on trial for moharebeh, but he did not release any names. The details surrounding the arrests and trials have not been made public. Other official reports claims that Bahá’ís arrested recently were in possession of illegal firearms and other deadly weapons. The International Bahá’ís community “rejects the allegations that the arrested Bahá’ís had weapon at home”.
Recent reports also indicate that the regime is targeting ethnic minorities once again. In recent months several Kurds have been executed, Fasih Yasamini is the last victim who was executed on January 6, 2010.
Iranian and international human rights activists and organizations are quite concerned about the life of political prisoners in Iran. Amnesty International in its statement of January 8, 2010 on the accusations by the government said, “The news comes amid signs that the Iranian authorities may be planning to increase the use of the death penalty as a means to deter demonstrations”.
On many occasions the international community failed to show enough sensitivity to the massacre that was taking place, like the genocide in Rwanda. The new wave of repression in Iran is taking place in front of the very eyes of the world, partially due to the huge number of videos released by the protesters. There is no excuse for silence and turning a blind eye.
It is the responsibility of the international community to exert pressure on the Islamic Republic of Iran so that they allow UN officials into Iran to meet with detainees and the family of political prisoners and victims. It is the responsibility of all concerned Canadians to ask for a fair trial for all detainees and stop execution of the accused.

Jafar Behkish
January 29, 2009

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